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A Last Days Mindset 3

A Last Days Mindset 3

We’re continuing to look at Jesus as He teaches His disciples about the End Times. He’s telling them what He’ll be looking for at His return. The Lord will be rewarding those who are found faithfully fulfilling their calling.

However, Christ knows that there will be another group of leaders in the church. He gives this as a warning not to be a part of this.

But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the menservants and maidservants and to eat and drink and get drunk. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.”

Luke 12:45-46 NIV

The Lord talks about leaders who are only thinking about themselves. They act like the purpose of the church is to fulfill their every want and desire. They have no thought to what will happen at the return of Christ.

Church leaders – shepherds of the flock – should be feeding, guiding, and protecting their people. That’s what their calling is about. There’s no place in the body of Christ for self-serving ministers.

Jesus says that these leaders eat, drink, and get drunk. This reminds me of another End Time teaching that the Lord gave to His disciples. It’s near the end of Luke’s Gospel, so we haven’t looked at it yet. Here’s a preview.

Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.”

Luke 21:34 NIV

Jesus warns that the Last Days will be marked by these three things. It’s an exact description of our society without Christ.

Dissipation is using up all of our resources – time, money, talent and strength – on things that have no eternal value. Spiritual drunkenness is becoming intoxicated with the things of the world. Anxiety is focusing on all the fearful things around us rather than looking to Christ and His Word.

It’s unfortunate, but there’s a segment of church leadership that falls into this category. They need to heed the Lord’s warning before it’s too late. If not, they run the risk of losing out on their rewards.

The NIV translation, above, makes it seem like they’re unsaved. That’s actually not the case.

The phrase, cut him to pieces, means severely scourged in the Greek. That’s being lashed with a whip with pieces of glass or metal at the ends. It brings deep lacerations. The above verse could also be read that he was assigned a place with the unfaithful.

This goes along with what Paul wrote to the Corinthians. He explained about the works we do for God.

…his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

1 Corinthians 3:13-15 NIV

These self-serving leaders will seem to be living large now, but they’ll have no future rewards. We should be building now, for eternity. We have to be careful that we don’t make our ministry all about us.

I believe that the scourging Jesus talks about, is watching all of our works go up in smoke. They’ll still be saved, but with nothing to show for it.

I want to have an eternal reward to look forward to. That means I need to be faithful to the Lord’s calling right now. Yes, it’s hard sometimes, when I look at what others are doing. But I’m not out to please them or compete with them.

Our calling is to seek God’s face and fulfill His calling in us.

Question: What is God calling you to do in His kingdom?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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A Last Days Mindset 2

A Last Days Mindset 2

In my last post, I started looking at how Jesus told us to be ready for His return. We need to be always awake and alert in the spirit. This is important because we have no idea when this return will take place.

But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

Luke 12:39-40 NIV

Jesus uses the illustration of a thief breaking into a house. The Lord makes it clear that no amount of experience or calculation can pinpoint the day and hour of a break-in. The only thing you can do is to make preparations for that possibility.

In the same way, Jesus will return at an unknown day and hour. It will be when a majority of people don’t expect Him. The Greek word for expect means to be of the opinion or to suppose.

As I said in my last post, there are many believers who are of the opinion that Jesus is going to come sooner than He says He will. The Lord doesn’t operate according to popular opinion. It’s all about His Word and His will.

There are some who think it’s the world that Christ is talking about here. They suppose it’s the world who won’t expect Jesus to return at the proper time. The Scripture has an answer for this.

Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?”

The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.”

Luke 12:41-44 NIV

Thank you, Peter, for asking that question. The answer is very important to our discussion. The Lord makes it clear that He’s not only talking to believers, but especially to the leadership of the church. If the spiritual leaders are ignorant of the truth, then what chance do the young believers have?

Jesus is talking to the teachers. He wants those who feed the Word of God to the flock to know the truth. After all, those who teach and preach will be judged more strictly.

Because of this, the Lord is directing His comments to the faithful and wise leaders. He’s addressing those who have a great desire to accomplish God’s will.

That word, faithful, means someone who you can fully trust. The word, wise, literally means thoughtful and implies a cautious character.

What does this mean to us? When it comes to the return of the Lord, there are many who teach what they’ve heard others teach. They only echo the voice of others with no thought of seeking the truth for themselves.

We live in the last days. The time is getting shorter. We don’t have the luxury of teaching something because it sounds exciting. By our preaching, believers are either being set-up for heartache and failure or faith and victory.

We need to be prepared to wait for the Lord’s return, no matter how long it takes. I’ve done an in-depth study of the Lord’s teaching on this and put it in a book. It’s called The Third Watch – It’s Later than You Think. For more information about this book, click here.

We need to be a people who are preparing ourselves for the Lord’s coming. That means spending time in the Word and in the Spirit. We need to be praying, hearing from God, and then doing what He speaks.

Then, no matter what the future holds, we’ll be found as faithful and wise servants at His return.

Question: How do you cultivate faithfulness to Christ?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2022 in Faith, Leadership, Return of Christ

 

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A Last Days Mindset

A Last Days Mindset

Do you believe that we’re living in the Last Days before the coming of the Lord? Do you think that His return is close? If so, then what should our mindset be like?

We’re looking at the Gospel of Luke, and we’re now in chapter 12. At this point in His ministry the Lord is talking about the importance of being ready. We’re not to be distracted by all the things the world has to offer.

Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him.”
Luke 12:35-36 NIV

In this verse Jesus shows us how to live in the last days. He tells us to be dressed. For us it means to have our spiritual armor on. Don’t go around without your protection from the snares of the enemy.

Too many Christians are walking around spiritually naked. Then they wonder why the enemy has such an easy time messing with them. The time is now to prepare for the spiritual conflict ahead.

The Lord also said to keep your lamps burning. We must be awake and alert. The world is in the dark and we’re supposed to be in the light. That’s the kind of constant preparedness our lives should be equipped with.

We are to be in an attitude of waiting and watching. The meaning of the word that He uses for waiting is to give access to. In other words, I’m not living for myself. I’m at someone else’s disposal. I’m supposed to be ready at a moment’s notice to do something for somebody else.

The Lord must have 24 hour a day access to our lives. As soon as the Master knocks, we should be at the door, opening it. Our schedule should not even factor into it. We live to please the Master.

Sometimes our attitude with the Lord sounds like this; “Oh, I’m sorry. I was reading a book, and I wanted to finish the paragraph.” Servants don’t have that luxury. We live to please Christ. We must be prepared to serve at a moment’s notice.

In order to fulfill this calling, we must have the attitude of a waiting servant. Christ is coming, and we want to be ready when He appears. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing, what I’m reading, or what I’m eating – when He arrives on the scene, I’m there to meet Him. “Lord, I’m ready for you.” That’s the ready attitude to have.

It’s time for the church to stop living like our wants and desires are the most important thing. Christ must be given the highest priority of our service. If we live like this, we have a blessing waiting for us.

It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night.

Luke 12:37-38 NIV

According to the Lord, if we work now, at His return it will be our time to rest. That’s something to look forward to.

However, Jesus made some surprising statements about His return. Don’t be one of those who are unprepared for what will happen before His coming.

The Lord says that His return will come when you don’t expect it. Notice that it will not be a surprise because He comes before you expect Him. What is going to throw people off is that He will arrive later than they thought it would be.

The second watch of the night is from 9 o’clock to midnight. The third watch is from midnight to 3 in the morning.

What if I said to you, “Can I come over your house tonight?”

“Sure,” you reply, and you wait for me to show up. 7 o’clock, 8 o’clock and 9 o’clock go by. At that point you’ll probably shut the porch light off. At 11 o’clock you will probably be in bed. If I then bang on your door at 3 o’clock in the morning, I’m sure you wouldn’t even get out of bed to answer the door, even though I told you I was coming.

That’s what Jesus is saying. He’s telling us that He’s coming later than we think. Most people would think that if you’re going to come for dinner, you should arrive early.

Naturally, we think “suppertime.” But Jesus is asking how long past suppertime are we prepared to wait? There will be a time when people start thinking that Jesus should be here by now, but He’s not. It’s midnight. A lot of people have these religious clocks that are set at five minutes to midnight. They think that the Lord is coming soon – at midnight.

I’ve got news for you. The Bible says He might come as late as 3 in the morning, spiritually speaking. There are many Bible teachers who have taken certain future prophetic events and defined them as occurring “after midnight.”

Someday the “prophecy clock” will strike midnight. If you’re one of the people who believe that He’s going to be here at this prophetic midnight, you might be disappointed. We’ve got to be careful. Most of Christianity is expecting Him to come at this midnight hour.

Jesus said, “I’m going to come later than you think.” As a matter of fact, what you’re going to find as we go through the Scriptures, is that whenever Christ warns us about being ready, He always qualifies it by saying that He will come later than we’re expecting.

Question: How far are you prepared to go if Christ delays His Second Coming?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2022 in Faith, Return of Christ, Spiritual Walk

 

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